Township race result flipped because of error

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The voting may be over, but the counting of the ballots continues in Lawrence County.

In one race, the results were flipped and in five races, the votes were close enough for them to be checked again.

In the race for the open Hamilton Township trustee position, the Lawrence County Board of Elections is having voting machine programmers review how the machine was set up.

Lawrence County Board of Elections Deputy Director Eric Bradshaw said the results were flipped, that Bill Robinson is the actual winner with 374. Allan Blankenship got 170 votes.

“It was a programming error and that race got recorded exactly opposite,” he said. “I don’t know what happened. We have people coming in from ES&S software in Omaha and a programmer from Columbus.”

Bradshaw said that was the only race in Lawrence County where a flip occurred.

“We spent Wednesday checking and rechecking the results,” he said. “I think somebody just mixed up their As and Bs because it is supposed to go in alphabetical order. But that is just my guess.”

In several races, recounts are taking place.

In the Ironton City Council race, Vice Mayor Chuck O’Leary and businessman Mike Lutz were within four votes of each other for the third open seat on the council, O’Leary had 1,498 and Lutz had 1,494.

In the race for the Proctorville mayor, it was a single vote difference. Charles Stapleton had 82 to Jimmy Buchanan’s 81.

In the Proctorville Village Council race, Brenda Chapman and Jerry Thompson tied for the second seat with 64 votes apiece.

In Symmes Valley, the township fiscal officer race had a single vote difference with Linda Carpenter getting 67 votes and Patty Belville getting 66. And on the Symmes Valley Board of Education, there was a two-vote difference for the second open seat with Kim Turner getting 708 and Kent Wells getting 706.

Bradshaw said the board of elections would count the votes by hand and check it against the disks from the electronic voting machines in two precincts.

“If those come out right, then we run (all the electronic votes) again,” he said.

In most cases, the votes were within one-half of one percent, which under state law means an automatic recount.

“I don’t think there are enough provisional (ballots) out there to change the results,” Bradshaw said. He added that they are researching to see what to do if a tie still exists after a recount. “Maybe we will just have to flip a coin or something.”

In the Lutz-O’Leary race, the fourth place winner may still get a seat on city council since Councilman Rich Blankenship was voted in as Ironton mayor leaving a vacant seat.

The council had 30 days to appoint someone to fill the vacancy and traditionally, it has appointed the next highest vote-getter to fill the open spot.

Bradshaw said the board of elections will try to have the races resolved by Nov. 17, but must be completed by Nov. 27.